Sheryl Marie Jackson and Adriana Vazquez have extended their love and care for their kids, who attend Martin Luther King Middle School, to all the students at the Green Dot Southeast Texas school in Beaumont, Texas.
Jackson and Vazquez are two of a growing number of volunteer mothers who give back to the school by helping, among other things, in office duty, class monitoring and chaperoning in out of school activities. Both of them are proud to give their time once a week to help their kids and other students be successful.
“I have a passion for children and to help,” said Jackson, whose grandson Jamari attends King Middle School. “Most of the children that attend school are in my neighborhood. So, we are at the neighborhood in my house, and we do positive things and I felt in order to really help out more was to be in the school because a lot of the kids respect me, they know me, come to my house every single day. I can walk in a class and see them doing something and all I have to do is look at them, give them that look that their mother would give you and you would stop in your tracks.”
Jackson has been volunteering since late in the 1980’s, when a drug epidemic hit all over the world. At that time, she felt the need to be there for the children and help them to focus their minds in education and sports.
“I have been volunteering in my community since the nineties, when I was actually taking young men into my home, giving them a place to live. There was a time the early eighties, the late eighties that the drug epidemic took place into a lot of neighborhoods, so I took in kinds that were neglected. By doing that, I gained trust, not only with the children, the parent, the grandparents, their siblings,” explains Jackson. “Once you build that trust as these kids trust you, they are going to tell you and confide in you about everything and it’s a beautiful feeling that they can come to me knowing that I’m going to listen and I’m not going to be judgmental and we can talk.”
Vazquez, on the other hand, volunteers most of her time to help students that have English as a second language. Having a son and a daughter at King Middle School, this Hispanic mother feels safe keeping up tabs on them and being an integral part in the adaptation of students from other countries.
“I help in the ESL bilingual program,” said Vazquez. “We have students that aren’t originally from here. They come in and you evaluate them and ask their parents if they want to be part of the ESL program and we help them with English language, in classes, with tests and fortunately we have a big number of kids that come from outside the United States.”
Both Vazquez and Jackson are happy that Green Dot Public Schools has partnered with the Beaumont Independent School District as they have noticed improvements in the quality of education and safety, among other things. They are enthusiastically waiting for the implementation of new initiatives and programs that will help the students move in the right track to be prepared for college, leadership and life.
“I see them implementing more things and things that are going to help them with their education and that’s the number one thing. I’m excited to know that my child who attends the school as well is going to benefit from tutoring, mentoring and all of that,” adds Ms. Jackson.
“I think that is growing, slowly, surely, but it’s getting there,” said Vazquez. “We see it in behavior and academically. There has been progress. The students are calmer and quieter.”
King Middle School is closing the gap on meeting Texas state goals, where students from different student groups are making impressive strides toward their targets. The school met 7 of the key targets examined by STAAR in the ELA/Reading growth, where 70 percent of students achieved or surpassed their growth goal.